WinStar Farm’s Doubles Partner, third in the April 13 Makers 46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland after an unfortunate trip, returns to one of his favorite grass courses for the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs May 5.
The Woodford Reserve, the race preceding the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), attracted a well-matched field of 11, including others from the Makers 46 Mile: the victorious Data Link and second-place finisher Turallure. The stakes is for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.
Doubles Partner, a 5-year-old Rock Hard Ten horse bred in Florida by Arthur Appleton, has a fine history on the Churchill turf. He broke his maiden there in November 2009, and in April 2010 won the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds. One year ago, he finished a closing third in the Turf Classic.
In two starts this year Doubles Partner, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park and finished third in the Makers 46 Mile. In the latter event, he kicked in from fifth in a field of six turning for home, wove in and out, and found racing room too late along the rail. He lost by three-quarters of a length.
Javier Castellano gets a return call on Doubles Partner, who drew post 6. The horse has five wins, one second, and two thirds in nine grass starts.
Stuart Janney III’s Data Link, to be ridden by Alex Solis from post 7, will make his Churchill debut in the Turf Classic. The 4-year-old War Front colt was third behind Doubles Partner in the Canadian Turf but benefited from clear sailing in the Makers 46 Mile.
Four D Stables Turallure, who fell a nose shy of winning the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill and has a sharp local record, drew post 2 with Julien Leparoux. The 5-year-old Wando horse trained by Charlie Lopresti had the jump on Data Link in the Makers 46 Mile but fell a neck short.
Turallure is one of many in the race that prefer to race from off the pace. The pace probably will be set by Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike, who has excelled at racing one mile on the turf but did win the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine Millions Turf in March at Gulfstream, or last year's Turf Classic winner, Get Stormy .
Trained by Dale Romans, 5-year-old Little Mike has been particularly deadly when he gets a breather at some point in a race. The Spanish Steps gelding couldn’t hold off Doubles Partner and two others in the Canadian Turf in his last start after blistering six furlongs of the mile race in 1:09.32.
Regular rider Joe Bravo is back aboard Little Mike, who drew the rail.
Get Stormy, a 6-year-old Stormy Atlantic horse owned by Sullimar Stable and trained by Tom Bush, led until the final yards in the Makers 46 Mile and finished fourth. But he has three wins in six starts at the distance, and has won 11 times in 28 starts, all on grass.
His only off-the-board effort since January 2011 came in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile. Ramon Dominguez rides from post 4, which puts Get Stormy in a good position should he want to force the issue outside of Little Mike.
$500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT, Race 10, 4:44 p.m.) 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles Turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Little Mike, J Bravo, 120, D Romans
2. Turallure, J Leparoux, 120, C Lopresti
3. Boxeur des Rues, M Guteirrez, 118, D O’Neill
4. Get Stormy, R Dominguez, 124, T Bush
5. Slim Shadey, D Flores, 122, S Callaghan
6. Doubles Partner, J Castellano, 120, T Pletcher
7. Data Link, A Solis, 124, C McGaughey
8. Turbo Compressor, R Bejarano, 118, T Pletcher
9. Al Khali, C Nakatani, 118, W Mott
10. Brilliant Speed, J Velazquez, 120, T Albertrani
11. Papaw Bodie, J Rosario, 120, M Maker
Blinkers On: Boxeur des Rues